Coccolithophores flourish in nutrient-poor, sub-polar waters. Like other types of microscopic ocean plants (phytoplankton), coccolithophores are an important food source for fish and other marine animals. Coccolithophore blooms occur when large numbers of the plants grow in one place. Such blooms can be large: The visible portion of this bloom covers about 150,000 square kilometers (57,000 square miles) or roughly the www.sco.wisc.edu/maps/WIstatistics.php area of Wisconsin. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer ( modis.gsfc.nasa.gov MODIS ) on NASA's terra.nasa.gov/ Terra satellite captured this image.
NASA image courtesy Norman Kuring, oceancolor.gsfc.nasa.gov/ Ocean Color Group at Goddard Space Flight Center.